In the fall, I will teach a new curriculum in Writing 2. I want to teach a different curriculum because I was not satisfied with the way the OTHER new one on adaptation of film from literature worked out. I just didn't know enough about it and it turned out to be fantastically complicated.
I decided that sociological or political topics are probably best for Wr. 2. So, after watching A Clockwork Orange in my abortive film series last spring, I got an idea for another provocative class. Again, it's a topic I know nothing about... punishment and forgiveness. Now, I've taught a Wr. 1 with the theme of revenge for a year, so I know a bit about that, and it's part of the class I'll teach. But I know nothing at all about prisons, prison reform, rehabilitation, or the death penalty, all topics this one might entail. And choosing books is difficult.
Because I had to make a fast decision and didn't know where to turn, I went to Amazon and studied the available texts I found there, choosing one after going through the table of contents, reading a page, etc. Well, I made a very bad decision. The topic is interesting enough. It's an argument against state punishment of prisoners, but it's in such dense philosophical language that I can barely make it through a page. Not a keeper, and I've had the bookstore order it. Sigh.
I asked the librarians to help me, and will go to the bookstore today to un-order it. I am afraid I am doing what I did to myself last spring. But one can't teach the same curriculum over and over till she croaks. It's so boring, and I couldn't stand that. The only thing is, is not knowing what you're doing worse? I'm trying to get and read and stay a few steps ahead of the students the first time I teach it, as I did with modern slavery, and that worked out very very well. I hope I can do it again.